NEW BREMEN — The Southwestern Auglaize County Chamber of Commerce presented three awards during its annual awards lunch on Tuesday. The event was held at the Faith Alliance Church in New Bremen.
SWAC Executive Director Logan O’Neill first presented the Community and Business Pride Award to Garmann/Miller Architects-Engineers.
This award is given to an organization or business that has made changes to its operation by expansion, renovation, or significant growth, and that has made a significant, positive impact on the community in which it operates.
According to O’Neill, Garmann/Miller was nominated due to its noteworthy presence and impact on the landscape within the community, in the form of architectural designs that appear within parks and buildings throughout the area.
The Businessperson of the Year Award is given to an individual who by his/her efforts has significantly and positively influenced their respective business and/or community.
O’Neill presented this award to Preston Meyer, general manager of NKTelco.
“(Meyer) has been a vital part of the Southwestern Auglaize County Chamber, serving on the original board of directors,” O’Neill said. “He believes in making Auglaize County the best place for both businesses and residents. (Meyer) was instrumental in bringing cable TV and Internet to both New Bremen and Minster back in the late 90s, and today, under his direction, NKtelco is building a fiber home network in all three communities of the golden triangle.
“(Meyer) has served in many community organizations and truly cares about the quality of life in Auglaize County. Whether it be work or personal, he works hard to make the golden triangle a better place to live and a great place to operate a business.”
The Special Achievement Award is given to an individual who has contributed to, or collaborated on, a project that brings value and improves the quality of life beyond their immediate community.
O’Neill presented this award to Mary Ann Olding.
“In the last 15 years, (Olding) has made 30 trips to Cuba, beginning way before the island was open to routine visits from the Americans,” O’Neill said.
Prior to each trip to Cuba, Olding acquires resources, like medical equipment, tools, canned food, and supplies, which she then hand-carries to outdated hospitals.
“While much of it is donated, Olding herself pays for a lot of it herself. she also has arranged for several exhibits in the U.S. of artwork by Cuban painters, and has facilitated the sale of paintings, the money from which she supports those artists,” O’Neill said. “She has improved the quality of life for many Cubans, way beyond her Minster address.”
Olding, who had just returned from one of the Cuban trips for which she was nominated, spoke briefly.
“It’s a pleasure to accept this honor,” she said. “I got started in working with Cuba through a humanitarian group based in St. Augustine, and now after 29 trips — sometimes lasting a month at a time — I’ve been all over the island, to every major city.
“Cuba is a fascinating, very, very oppressed country with a Communist socialist government, where people are afraid to even say the name Fidel Castro today when they’re sitting on their front porches.”
Olding went on to say that, currently, Cuba is undergoing a “special crisis” with the revolution in Venezuala, which has affected the ability for Cuba to receive certain supplies. Olding said those she visits on the island are rationing their food to two meals per day, mainly consisting of beans and rice.
“I find an amazing zest for a life; the best they can make,” she said. “They focus on their family relationships, their love of music, of dance, and I think the thing that impresses me most is if I give them a package of M&M’s and there are six people in the group, they will make sure that everybody gets a share.”
Prior to the award recognition, featured speaker Dave Cahill, managing partner of Avanulo Consulting LLC and former SWAC Chamber member, gave a presentation about business management and his work with Avanulo.
“The purpose of Avanulo is to help revivify American manufacturing,” he said. “The reason we chose that purpose is because we believe America is that shining city on the hill; we believe it’s an example for the world; that the world is a better place because of America.”
Cahill went on to discuss ways in which Avanulo has helped clients achieve success, as well as the importance of organizational excellence, or the degree to which you achieve your purpose.
“If you link everything you’re doing to your purpose, you will focus on what’s important and you will eliminate doing things that are not important,” he said.
Cahill also introduced the “1440 Management System,” which is a meeting process that reduces meeting times by 66 percent or more and triples meeting effectiveness. He explains the importance of this management system in that it leads to overall improvement, and saves each participant 250 to 450 hours each year, allowing more time to “think, plan, and lead like never before.”
Cahill gave a step-by-step guide for how to implement the 1440 Management System, which focuses on alignment of purpose, vision, values, methods, and efforts, all of which optimize throughput, or the flow of salable goods or services to the customer.
In addition to the awards, O’Neill also presented a flag from the Architect of the Capitol to Eric Windeknecht, of Nidec Minster Corporation, as part of the Past President Recognition.
O’Neill read a certification of authenticity from the Architect of the Capitol, which states, “This is to certify that the accompanying flag was flown over the United States Capitol. This flag was flown at the request of the honorable Jim Jordan, member of Congress, in honor of Eric Windeknecht for his service as board president of the Southwestern Auglaize County Chamber of Commerce during 2018. Thank you for your service to the people, community, and businesses of southwestern Auglaize County.”
Reach the writer at 937-538-4825.